Friday, 12 July 2013

DJ Krust - Warhead (Steppa Mix)

DJ Krust - Warhead (Steppa Mix) (V Recordings, 1997)

George "Buzzy" Bragg's punchy drum break from the beginning of Skull Snaps' 'It's A New Day' (1973) became one of the most well used breakbeats in hip-hop, beginning with Stezo's 'It's My Turn' in 1989. The break is also regularly used in electronic music (see The Prodigy's 'Poison') and particularly drum & bass on tracks such as Ed Rush & Optical's 'Pac Man', DJ Die's 'Autumn' and this almighty tune from DJ Krust.

'Warhead' is one of the most well known drum & bass tunes of all-time and was a game changer back in 1997, ushering in an era of more minimal, stripped-back production. The intro features a low bass drone coupled with higher pitched sounds that resemble a radio being tuned over Krust's take on the 'It's A New Day' break before a simple but devastating descending bassline is deployed. The real genius of the tune though lies in the little additions and subtractions that Krust makes along the way, with small changes having the ability to lift the energy levels to new heights.

In this interview Krust recalls the competition between himself and the rest of the Full Cycle crew and how hearing Roni Size and Die making 'Mad Professor' spurred him on to make 'Warhead' - he calls it "a pure revenge tune" as he wanted to make something even better. He also talks about taking himself out of his comfort zone in order to create something unique - for instance the bass sound on 'Warhead' was created by holding a live studio jack in front of a speaker and recording the feedback. As Krust himself admits, nobody liked the tune when they first heard it but it became the tune of 1997 and only suffers today from being played so much over the years.

You can download the digital of 'Warhead' directly from the label. It also appears on the essential Retrospect Volume 1 compilation. In 2011 Krust held a 'Warhead' remix competition and the winner was Voltergeist's dubby techno take on the tune which you can listen to below or download for free on Bandcamp.

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